19 October, 2020

Remote Control Rebels

Why China’s meddling in the Northeast should worry Delhi

Illustration by Sorit
Remote Control Rebels

Nations accustomed to making episodic responses to high-profile security events run the risk of missing out subterranean trends and realities. Wang Qing, a Chinese woman spy masquerading as a television reporter, was recently arrested and deported after she visited the headquarters of the NSCN(IM), a Naga rebel group, in Hebron, some 30 km from Dimapur. But the news attracted little attention. The authorities say she admitted to being a spy for the People’s Security Bureau, a Chinese intelligence agency. She had had a four-hour-long closed-door session with T. Muivah, a rebel leader who is holding talks with the Indian government. The rebel group, however, would have the Indian government go by what its spokesperson Phunthing Shimrang says—that “the general secretary (Muivah) has made it clear we are holding talks here and have no relations with China”.

Of late, the security discourse pertaining to the Northeast has been marked by good news: peace engagement with the rebels, improved cooperation from Bangladesh,...



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